Baseball Rundown Rules Explained: Everything You Need to Know

Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the world, and the rundown is a crucial aspect of the game. In this guide, I’ll provide an introduction to baseball rundowns, the rules of a rundown, and everything you need to know to execute and defend against rundowns.

What is a Rundown in Baseball?

A rundown, also known as a pickle or a hotbox, is a situation in baseball where a baserunner gets caught between two bases. The goal of the rundown is for the defensive team to tag the baserunner out before they reach a base.

A rundown can happen in a few different ways. For example, if a baserunner is caught off of first base and the pitcher throws the ball to the first baseman, the first baseman can tag the baserunner and start a rundown. Alternatively, if a baserunner is caught between second and third base, the infielders can throw the ball back and forth to each other to try and tag the runner out.

The Rules of a Rundown

The rules of a rundown are fairly simple. The defensive team must tag the baserunner with the ball before they reach a base. If the baserunner reaches a base safely, they cannot be tagged out.

There are a few other important rules to keep in mind during a rundown. First, the defensive team can only have one player with the ball in their possession at a time. If more than one player has the ball, the baserunner can simply run around them and reach a base safely.

Second, the baserunner is not allowed to leave the baseline. If they do, they can be called out for interference.

Finally, the defensive team cannot intentionally obstruct the baserunner during a rundown. If they do, the baserunner will be awarded the base they were running towards.

How to Execute a Rundown

Executing a rundown requires coordination and communication between the defensive players. The basic steps to executing a rundown are as follows:

  1. The player with the ball (the one who initiated the rundown) runs towards the baserunner until they get close enough to make a throw.
  2. As soon as the player with the ball makes the throw, they should run towards the other base to receive the ball from their teammate.
  3. The other defensive player receives the ball and runs towards the baserunner.
  4. The two players continue to throw the ball back and forth until they tag the baserunner out.

It’s important for the defensive players to communicate with each other during a rundown. They should call out when they have the ball and where they’re throwing it.

How to Defend Against a Rundown

Defending against a rundown requires quick thinking and agility. The basic steps to defending against a rundown are as follows:

  1. The baserunner should try to stay in the baseline and avoid leaving too much space between themselves and the defensive player with the ball.
  2. The baserunner should try to fake out the defensive players by changing directions quickly or slowing down unexpectedly.
  3. The baserunner should wait for a mistake on the part of the defensive players, such as a bad throw or a dropped ball, and take advantage of it.


In conclusion, the rundown is a crucial aspect of baseball that requires coordination, communication, and quick thinking on the part of both the offensive and defensive teams. The rules of a rundown are fairly simple, but executing a successful rundown can be difficult. By understanding the basics of how to execute and defend against rundowns, players can improve their chances of success on the baseball field.

It’s also worth noting that rundowns are just one aspect of baseball. The game is full of complex strategies, rules, and techniques that players must master in order to succeed. If you’re interested in learning more about baseball or improving your skills, there are many resources available, including instructional videos, coaching clinics, and training camps.

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